5 Painless Ways we’re Chopping Our Expenses
A few times a year, I like to take a second (or third) look at our finances. There is always room for saving money and frankly? I’m cheap and I don’t like to pay more than I absolutely have to for our expenses. You might think that your budget is as tight as you can possibly get it, but there is usually always room for improvement. So once a quarter (or so), I take another look and I try to slim down our spending even further. At this point, it has become a game to me.
“How low can you go?”
So this time, I came across a few things that we can cut and I wanted to share them with you. Check out these 5 painless ways we’re chopping our expenses.
Timed Showers – My Emma is a BIG fan of LONG showers. Tom is too. As a result? I have had a $75.00/mo water bill. For 3 people? That is downright crazy. So Mom is putting her foot down. Shower time is cut down to 10 minutes per person. My showers, because I have REALLY long hair, are now timed to 15 minutes. Hopefully timing these and cutting back on the 30 minute water waste will not only show some savings in my water bill, but its also better for the planet. We have also added a full water bottle to both toilets in the house. This will raise the water level on it and cut back on the amount of water needed to fill the tank. Yes, it’s still sanitary to do, your toilet uses much more water to flush than is actually needed.
Dropping the Bulk – We were paying around $19.00/mo for Netflix and Hulu Plus. However, because we have an Amazon Prime subscription, we also have Amazon Prime Instant Video. Because of this, I see no reason to continue paying an extra $19.00 each month. That is an extra $228.00 per year that we don’t need to spend. We still get new shows and movies and we’re saving money at the same time. (If you don’t currently have Amazon Prime, you can get 30 days FREE with THIS link. This would be a great way to try it out to see if this step would work for your family too.)
Changing companies – I recently wrote a post about how I saved $264.00 a year in 5 minutes and 6 clicks and I’m so glad we did. Basically, we switched car insurance companies. Previously we had been insured by USAA but Progressive was able to give us a rate that was $22.00/mo cheaper. Not only that, we were able to add their device so that as we drove safely, our rate would continue to go down. Yes, that means our vehicle is monitored, but we are able to connect or disconnect it whenever we want. I’m still deciding whether it will be a permanent addition to our money saving arsenal, but it will be a bit before I know since it takes time to really get going.
Changing plans – As I was going through everything, I realized that I was paying a whopping $65.00 per month for unlimited cell service. That included unlimited talk, text and data. The first 2 are very much needed, but seeing that I am at home a lot, I had to question why I was paying for data when 90% of the time I am connected to my own wi-fi. Taking a look at the plans that my cell provider has, I was able to save $35.00 per month just by dropping that data. I can add daily data for $2.00 a day if I happen to need it for GPS and I still save $420.00 per year. Not only did I change the cell plan, but our electric provider also has different plans. I had never seen anything like that before we moved in May so when we moved, I simply chose their pre-paid option for ease and would deposit money each month. Once I remembered I needed to take a better look at the plans, I found what I’m going to consider my personal gold mine.
You heard me. I switched our plan to their free nights plan. From 9pm to 6 am, we pay $0 for our power usage. So, to see the biggest savings, I had to move things to the evening. The dishwasher now gets run after 9, clothes are washed after 9. I do a lot of work after 9. The transition wasn’t anything that was really hard to do and I can say now? I’m saving $35.00 per week on power.
Our electric usage for last week? $36.00.
Doing it DIY Style – I have always loved doing things myself, but as our family gets settled into a new town, life has gotten busy. Because of that, over the last couple of years, I have stopped making things myself. Holy expenses jump Batman! So I have gone back to making a lot of the items that we use here at home…myself. I am making my own bread and tortillas. We’re using DIY Laundry Detergent and cleaners. I’ve got bars of homemade soap curing and the bottles of diy shampoo are filling up my linen closet. Instead of replacing my dishcloths and kitchen sponges, I’ve used old, ratty t-shirts to make cleaning rags (something I used to do, but stopped). Basically, if I can make it myself? I am. For October 2014 so far, doing this has saved me over $100.00.
So there you have it. My 5 painless ways we’re chopping our expenses. Overall, we are now saving ourselves a minimum of $2300 per year!! The little things that we do, really do add up, even if you don’t actively see it. When is the last time that you took another look at your budget? What painless ways are you cutting expenses?
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